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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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there he takes a paca or a coati, which just sneak out of the den; He quickly catches the larvae of large beetles on the way, a snack he removes with rotten sticks, or breaks a new stem of the Costus to quench his thirst, sucking its sap. In this way he makes use of the things around him to his advantage, and proceeds safely along the trail.

Nasua socialis, the coati

  Although we circled the hills to avoid impassable swamps, our mulatos were always faithful to the direction taken from S.S.W., and guided us safely through the immense forest. Only after we had rested, in the middle of the day, on the granite bank of a clear stream of the forest, and the guides had made several swallows of the rum bottle, did the guides argue with each other doubtfully as to which way to go. In short, as soon as they tried to reason, instead of being guided, as hitherto, by instinct, they lost their worry and insecurity. After guiding us for a good stretch, breaking branch-tips along the passage, so as not to err again, they stopped and became numb in meditation, from which we could only awaken them by the statement that their orientation was wholly in accordance with the indication of our compass. These careless children of the jungles, thus showed even in their element, mental weakness and lack of self-confidence, which is one of the chief traits of the Indian character.

In the meantime, it was getting dark, and a rain began to fall, which became stronger and stronger, and suddenly the night enveloped us with its impenetrable veil. We landed near a stream, and within minutes we set up a slatted shelter, covering it with overgrown palm leaves, and prepared our beds, heaping layers of ferns. The Indians each built a similar shelter for themselves, or sought to remove large pieces of tree bark with which they covered themselves. In fact, we were well supplied with groceries and coffee; but we had forgotten about the cooking vessel. The inventive genius of our guides soon found a remedy for this:

Cocos botryophora, on right

a new, uncracked leaf (patioba) from the coconut palm (Cocos botryophora), about four feet long, filled with water, was tied up in a canoe shape, under a rod, and placed upon the fire. To our astonishment, the water came to a boil, without breaking this vegetable pan and we were not deprived of the idyllic supper, not even the comforting drink of Arabia. The camp fires, which we lighted to protect ourselves especially against the beasts, were constantly threatening to go out due to wet fuel, and our foliage roof could not resist the rain for long.

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